Flour isn’t generally thought of as a high-protein food, especially with all the other amazing sources you can consume. And while flour isn’t as superior as eating a whole food itself, (which most flours are made from), nutritious and unrefined flour choices can be helpful to use in a variety of recipes.
For those that are gluten-free or looking to add more nutrition to their diets, alternative flours offer hope and inspiration for a gluten-free kitchen. However, many gluten-free flours on the market, such as gluten-free all-purpose flours, are just as refined and nutritionally empty as enriched wheat-based flours. Other uncommon flours, however, are some of the most nutrient-dense sources of fiber, along with protein, surprisingly enough. They include no processing except a cold-milling process, nor do they have any added ingredients, colors, etc.
Take a look at some of the most uncommon, gluten-free flours that are also packed with protein per serving and give them a try this week in all your plant-strong recipes!
1. Quinoa Flour
Quinoa flour contains roughly 4-5 grams per 1/4 cup and is completely gluten-free. It is much different than whole quinoa, though still packed with all the essential amino acids found in whole quinoa. Quinoa flour has an especially rich, savory flavor and works well in recipes like pizza crust, savory pancakes, waffles, or even gluten-free stuffing and cornbread. Try making this Healthy Digestive-Friendly Quinoa Pizza Crust as a great way to try it out!
2. Coconut Flour
Per 2 tablespoons, this delicious grain and gluten-free flour has 3.5 grams of protein! Per 1/4 cup, with 7 grams, that’s more than oat flour, wheat flour, or even a bowl of oatmeal for that matter! Coconut flour can be used in so many ways and is one of the simplest ways to add more protein to your food. Try using it in oatmeal, baking with it, putting it in smoothies to thicken it up, or make protein powder cookies or pancakes with it using only coconut flour, non-dairy milk, coconut yogurt, chia seeds, and a little ground flax. Coconut flour is also high in anti-viral properties and can help boost digestive health due to the 6 grams of fiber it has in just 2 tablespoons. Use coconut flour to make The World’s Healthiest Coffee Cake for one of the best breakfast recipes you could dream of!
3. Amaranth Flour
Per 1/4 cup of amaranth flour, you’ll get 4 grams of protein, which is about the same as a whole wheat-based flour. Amaranth, however, is completely gluten and grain-free, so it offers some digestive benefits to those with sensitivities. It’s made only from amaranth seed ( which is often referred to as an ancient grain) and is one of the most incredible sources of protein in the plant-based kingdom. It’s also rich in iron, B vitamins, along with potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Amaranth flour works well anywhere else you would use gluten-free flours, though it’s best suited for uses like pizza crust, muffins, breads, and cookies since it has a distinct, nutty flavor.
4. Teff Flour
Richer in protein than any other, with 7 grams per 1/4 cup, teff is such an amazing little seed (and the tiniest one to exist!) If you haven’t heard yet, teff is the new “it” grain-like seed to be eating. Teff flour is all the rage these days as well. Use it to make cupcakes, brownies, cakes, muffins, pancakes, waffles and more. Give these Gluten-Free Goji Muffins a try as a delicious way to try it out.
5. Chia Flour
Chia flour is a great way to benefit from chia’s high protein content and is only made of ground, raw, cold-milled chia seeds. Containing 3 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons, which is the same as chia seeds, chia flour is one of the most Healthy Alternatives to White Flour you can use. Chia seeds and chia flour contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. The beauty of using chia flour in your recipes is that it helps bind your recipes together so you don’t need to worry with eggs or even egg replacement products. Chia flour also helps add a nice, nutty, slightly bread-like texture and taste to your foods, while also being low in carbohydrates. This makes it friendly to your blood sugar and to your digestive system due to the high amounts of fiber it contains. Use chia flour to make anything you like such as pancakes, waffles, quick breads, and cookies. It’s even useful in smoothies, oatmeal, and dessert to serve as a thickener.
Remember that depending on the recipe, some of these flours may require you to adjust the liquid in your recipes or even the amount of baking soda (which will help them rise.) Learn some tips for baking with gluten-free flours and try out different varieties to see which ones work for you.
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Flour! for all your gluten-free baking needs!
Image Source: VeganBaking.net/Flickr